Analysis The European Parliament voted this week to back what is effectively a ban on the sale of combustion engine cars by 2035, and automakers are not happy.
MEPs backed a plenary vote on Wednesday for ‘zero-emission road mobility by 2035’ – essentially meaning there will be no more diesel and petrol vehicles on the road.
This ambitious target means that the automotive battery industry will have to meet much greater demand over the next few years, and manufacturers of electric cars will benefit enormously, that is, if they can source the semi -drivers and batteries required.
Lawmakers, including Dutch MEP Jan Huitema, who led the group, voted overwhelmingly for the revised emissions standards (339 votes for, 249 against, 24 abstentions). Huitema remarked yesterday: “With these standards, we are creating clarity for the automotive industry and can drive innovation and investment for automakers.
“In addition, buying and driving zero-emission cars will become cheaper for consumers. I am delighted that the European Parliament has backed an ambitious review of the 2030 targets and backed a 100% target for 2035, which is crucial to achieving climate neutrality by 2050.”
The body has also set “intermediate emission reduction targets” in 2030 of 55% emissions for cars and 50% for vans (compared to emissions measured in 2021).
Electric vehicles account for almost 20% of new registrations in the EU
A 2019 report by the European Environment Agency said the majority of vehicles on the road in Europe used diesel (67%), followed by petrol (25%). He added: “However, electric cars are gaining traction, accounting for 11% of all new passenger vehicles registered in 2020.”
The European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) found that “overall, in 2021, hybrid electric vehicles accounted for 19.6% of all new passenger cars registered in the EU, compared to 11.9% in 2020 Electrically plug-in vehicles also saw a surge in sales, accounting for 18.0% of total car registrations, up from 10.5% in 2020.”
He also noted, however, that overall car sales are down sharply, indicating that from January to April 2022 new car registrations fell by 14.4% in the EU, meaning that a total 2.93 million units were sold during the quarter. He attributed this to supply chain issues, which continue “to weigh heavily on automotive production”.
According to battery data firm Benchmark Mineral Intelligence (BMI), there will be 25 gigafactories – large-scale lithium-ion battery cell factories serving the automotive and energy storage industries – in western Europe. 2030.
As to whether they’ll be ready in time, the analyst said in March that while Europe is the fastest growing region for new lithium-ion battery capacity outside of China, “the capacity does not necessarily mean reliable supply for the electric vehicle industry… There are a number of bottlenecks in the construction and operation of these very large battery factories which can take five years to be built and fully commissioned.”
BMI said Tesla’s Gigafactory in Berlin would be particularly important in the push, and should “reach a capacity of 75 GWh by 2026 and operate at 125 GWh by 2030”.
It predicts that Europe will have a capacity of 789.2 GWh by 2030. To put that into perspective, that’s enough for 15 million pure electric vehicles.
Judging by ACEA’s figures on new car registrations and commercial vehicle registrations, that would seem sufficient, but critics say the raw materials for increased battery production might not be so simple to find. And then there are semiconductors…
US targets 50% electric vehicles by 2030
Chip shortages first surfaced as the COVID-19 pandemic spread in the spring of 2020, and were particularly apparent in the auto industry, with automakers canceling orders due to plant shutdowns. factories.
It started a snowball effect. Automakers then found they couldn’t recover capacity after chip foundries reallocated spare production runs elsewhere, to smartphones and laptops, which were already seeing an increase due to the lockdown.
The billion-dollar factories are already in turmoil, with wafers being produced every day of the year, and the surge in sales could not be satisfied by the production lines. This led to stockpiling and overbooking by buyers, which exacerbated the problem. But not only are combustion engine vehicles not the only ones to face this problem, but electric vehicles will feel it more acutely.
U.S. Commerce Department Secretary Gina Raimondo said last year that the U.S. goal was to have half of the cars on the road in the United States be electric vehicles by 2030.
Raimondo noted, “The truth is, it takes a lot of chips. The average electric vehicle has 2,000 chips in a car…one of the manufacturers said they’re going to double their chip requirements over the next five years. Probably the [combustion engine] car you drive now has hundreds of chips. The EV we want you to buy over time has 2,000 tokens.”
The UK’s 2030 plan
In 2020, the UK pledged to end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030, 10 years earlier than originally planned.
These efforts have been backed by government pledges to spend £500m ($622m) to help generate 5GW of low-carbon hydrogen generation capacity by 2030 for industry, transport, electricity and houses.
In July 2021 there were around 25,000 public charging stations in the UK, but a study by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said the figure was expected to rise to between 280,000 and 480,000 as motorists would switch to electric vehicles.
Correct charger density and distribution, appropriate power grid infrastructure, and drafting electricity pricing regulations to ensure it remains affordable are key considerations, according to Gartner research at the ‘era.
ACEA reacted to the EU vote this week with dismay, saying the industry was already experiencing global volatility and uncertainty.
BMW CEO Oliver Zipse, who is also chairman of ACEA, said “any long-term regulation going beyond this decade is premature at this early stage. Instead, a transparent review is needed.” halfway to defining the post-2030 goals.
“Such a review will first need to assess whether the deployment of charging infrastructure and the availability of raw materials for battery production will be able to match the continued strong ramp-up of battery electric vehicles at this time. -the.”
The German Automotive Industry Association (VDA) agreed, saying it was “too early today to set a 100% CO rate.2 reduction target – which is essentially the banning of the internal combustion engine – at a time when there are still too many open questions: how will infrastructure deployment and consumer adoption evolve in the coming years?
VDA has more than 650 manufacturers and service providers on its books, including Daimler, Audi, Mercedes, Opel, VW, Volvo and Intel Germany.
The latter’s parent company is investing in a massive new 17 billion euro ($18 billion) chip-making complex near Volkswagen’s headquarters in Magdeburg, Germany, as the auto industry is likely to be a big customer.
As you’d expect, EV manufacturers have welcomed the news. The demand for battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) from commercial customers is surging.
Electric mobility specialist Quantron AG, which manufactures battery and hydrogen-powered utility vehicles, said it saw a surge in “incoming orders and inquiries for utility vehicles” at IFAT 2022 (a waste), particularly in the heavy sectors and light segments.
“During the four days of the fair, Quantron AG received various orders for new zero-emission vehicles and many inquiries about the conversion of existing diesel commercial vehicles to electric drives, mainly from municipal companies… Trucks All-electric waste collection systems in particular are of great interest to local authorities.”
MEPs are now ready to start negotiations with EU member states.
Economy and infrastructure
The cheapest electric vehicle for sale in Europe appears to be Dacia’s Spring Electric, available in France and the Netherlands for around $19,000 (€18,000), although various EU incentives may bring the price down at $13,700 (€13,000).
Running an electric car is currently cheaper as inflation and the Russian energy crisis are driving up petrol and diesel prices (this might not be the case in the long run).
Yet, according to a special report on electric vehicle charging infrastructure [PDF] last year, the EU noted that “despite successes such as promoting a common European plug standard and improving access to different charging networks, barriers to travel within the EU in electric vehicles remain”.
The report states that “vehicle use will be limited until charging infrastructure is available, while on the other hand [hand]infrastructure investments require greater certainty about levels of vehicle adoption.”
We asked the EU for additional comments on whether enough charging stations were planned if it met its target by 2035.
The plenary vote is part of a wider movement to reduce overall pollution in the union of 27 member states. Road transport is currently responsible for 20% of EU greenhouse gas emissions, according to the European Commission.
The commission also offered to draft a report, to be delivered by the end of 2023, “detailing the need for targeted funding to ensure a just transition in the automotive sector” in the hope of mitigating “employment negative and other economic impacts”.
European politicians, meanwhile, who forced Apple on Tuesday to redesign its new iPhone’s charging ports, hope the legal measures will “spur innovation in zero-emission technologies”. ®